The trees are up, your town centre is basking in the warm glow of lights and the shops are bombarding us with seasonal offers – but it’s not all festive cheer and celebrations this Christmas.
The notoriously infectious winter sickness and diarrhoea bug, norovirus, is already rearing its ugly head and bringing festive plans to a screeching halt across the UK.
It’s an unwelcome health risk we’ve grown used to during the past few winters, but outbreaks are continuing to make headlines this year.
Current outbreaks and closures
The first grumbles of norovirus were heard back in November, as restaurant chain Wahaca was forced to close nine sites throughout England after more than 300 employees and members of the public fell ill with the bug.
Now the virus is showing up at hospitals in Wales, England, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
After 21 patients exhibited symptoms of norovirus five wards at Wrexham Maelor Hostpital were closed to the public, whilst attempts to prevent the bug spreading further have left another two wards under restrictions.
It follows the recent news that cases of the virus across Britain are up by 40 per cent on last year, leaving the NHS with a potential epidemic on their hands.
Tackling the threat
Putting vulnerable patients at risk of contracting the highly contagious infection should be avoided at all costs.
Unsurprisingly, experts are urging anyone who’s experienced symptoms of the norovirus within 48 hours to delay trips to call on friends or relatives currently in hospital.
It’s an important warning to note, particularly at Christmas when family visits are top of the priority list for most people.
But as well as individuals taking responsibility for their own part in preventing the spread of the bug, the healthcare industry also needs to check its infection control methods are top notch.
For extra information on how we can help you manage the challenges of the season this Christmas, get in touch or explore the rest of our site.